Tom Langley is a multi-talented individual who addresses each of his pursuits with the same intensity and commitment. He is an artist, photographer, musician, writer, and athlete (he is a passionate cyclist who can log 30 miles in one day).
Langley’s training as a fine artist and musician — he plays piano, trumpet, trombone and guitar — began in high school and continued into college. Fortunately for him and the rest of us, his high school teacher encouraged aestheticism and its acceptance.
“My teacher made us understand that it was okay to be an artist,” said Langley.
School introduced him to the works of Edgar Degas and Toulouse Lautrec; he found their treatment of paint and the human figure fascinating. In college, drawing took center stage for Langley thanks to another influential teacher who had been a successful illustrator.
Figure drawing continues to be a subject of keen interest to Langley, who has created an entire line of art based on figures he sketched on napkins in places like the News Café in Miami Beach, Cuban coffee bars, and restaurants.
“You can get lost in drawing a single ear,” said Langley.
Langley grew up in rural Georgia where the stillness, quietude and solitude reinforced the development of his artistic technique. According to him, art is a bit of a roller coaster, with some good days and some not.
When he was twenty, Langley met painter and sculptor Steffen Thomas at his studio in Georgia.
“He was the first real working artist I ever met. His yard and house were filled with art,” said Langley.
Langley’s career includes being an illustrator creating storyboards for television commercials, drawing 30 to 40 frames a day. He decided this line of work wasn’t for him because he wasn’t happy about being told what to draw.
He has worked as an art director and creative director. He left Georgia and moved to the Miami area in 1986. Here, he was part owner of an advertising agency for about eight years.
The father of two daughters, Langley later divorced and later still, met the love of his, Auxi Damien Langley. They met on Miami Beach where Tom Langley was a regular at the News Café, creating his figures with marker on napkins several nights a week.
By the 1990s, Langley rededicated himself to drawing, sketching, and painting. His paintings on large canvases, which he describes as “nonrepresentational and spontaneous,” are expressive abstracts with bold brush strokes. He has sold many of his works in the United States and around the world. However, he says of these paintings, “I do it for me. Not others.”
During a recent trip to Florence, Italy, the Langleys were dining at the “Acqua al Due” restaurant. The owner invites artists, actors, singers, et al to draw on large white plates that she then places on display in the establishment. Auxi informed the owner that her husband was an artist, and Tom was invited to give it a try. He sketched the man sitting next to them. Turns out it was the owner’s good friend. This plate went on display in a special lighted case in the restaurant (one of only three allowed).
“What a thrill and to top it off, we got free grappas to drink,” said Langley.
Contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his work at http://tomlangleyartist.wordpress.com and at Factory L located at 4565 SW 71st Avenue, Miami, 33155.